There's a lot of talk in the retail world about lingerie giant Victoria Secret. While hypersexual marketing, fantasy bras and 'angels' got them where they are, today's consumers are a lot more body accepting and seem to be moving away from the idea of a 'perfect body'. Today's consumers seem to crave messaging that centers around real everyday women and are turning to start-up companies like Negative Underwear and local Portland favorite, VAVA Lingerie who celebrate all body types and embrace 'flaws' rather than airbrush them.
Regardless of what your personal views may be however, one thing is for sure, we can learn a few lessons from VS in holiday marketing.
01. PLAN EARLY.
On August 9th, Victoria Secret flew thirteen angels (aka models), two photographers and a crew of 100+ people to an $80 million dollar ranch in Aspen, Colorado to shoot their 2017 holiday campaign. (How do I know? Because Ed Razek, VS's senior creative and the chief marketing officer of Creative Services at L Brands (VS's parent company) said so on Instagram and everyone knows if it isn't posted on Instagram...it didn't happen.)
Although we're about two and a half months away from the beginning of the retail holiday season, the VS crew is already shooting their holiday campaigns which means they've already crafted their holiday marketing strategy. In fact, their strategy had to have been finalized earlier than August in order to book the ranch and arrange for 100+ people to be in attendance.
What can we learn from this? Granted, Victoria Secret likely has a much bigger marketing team than you do as an emerging/independent brand and you might not have the funds to fly your team to Aspen for a photo shoot, but you can absolutely begin to plan your holiday marketing strategy now.
According to the National Retail Federation, "holiday retail sales during November and December increased 4 percent over 2015 to $658.3 billion, exceeding NRF’s forecast of $655.8 billion!" There's a lot of potential to make sales during this holiday season. Start planning your strategy NOW before you get busy with the in-laws coming into town and getting gifts for everyone on your list.
While some might want to keep their holiday collection and marketing materials under wraps until closer to the holiday season, VS embraces teasers and sneak peeks behind-the-scenes. VS models posted select pictures (often the same ones) on Instagram from their Aspen trip giving a strategic preview of the 'goodies' to come. In this way, social media peeks serve more as a teaser than a spoiler and helps generate buzz and excitement by giving their audience a BTS look. I don't know about you but I'm curious to see how this 'Wild Wild West' theme pans out.
What can we learn from this? How can you create excitement about your holiday offerings now? Come November, consumers will start to become over stimulated by holiday marketing messages. How can you hook customers now and get them excited for what's to come so that when the holidays roll around they're eager for your holiday goods to go live?
03. UP THE HYPE.
From what I can tell, the Victoria Secret Aspen trip started August 9th and wrapped up August 14th but from about August 9th-16th VS models continued to post pictures (around 10-15) from their trip using the hashtag #vsholiday17. Think of this as a beefed up influencer campaign. VS banked on the social media savvy babes to keep the hype going and continue to build excitement.
What can we learn from this? Okay, posting 15 pictures to Instagram might be a little much but think about how you can use images from your holiday photo shoot and behind-the-scenes happenings to build hype about your brand from now until the holidays.
Yesterday, Victoria Secret made headlines with auditions for their annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show. And today, the hype continues as models make Insta-announcements that they've been confirmed to walk in the 2017 VS show. Although it might seem unrelated, in actuality, the VS Fashion Show is filmed around November but is strategically aired on TV during December, and is another tier to their multi-level holiday marketing strategy. Genius.
What can we learn from this? While you might not have $12mil to spend on a fashion show to up your visibility during the holidays, there may be other things you can do like a hosting a holiday event with a local blogger, offering an exclusive free incentive with purchase or hosting a holiday giveaway. How can you add another level to your own holiday marketing strategy?
As with anything you do for your business, knowing and understanding who your customer is is a crucial part of running a fashion business. You can have a flawless production and manufacturing system, amazing vendors, a beautiful website and storefront but, if no one is buying, you are not in business. As you begin to plan your holiday marketing strategy, make sure you design it with your target customer in mind.